W5 Reflection Post

The article that I found THE best was “Tracing Slave Origins” by Jason Urbanus. This article talks about how researchers were able to use the genetic material from enslaved Africans that were buried together on St. Martin. Construction workers found two men and one woman about six years ago. Archeologists noticed that the teeth of these 3 individuals were filed down intentionally. This filing down of teeth was similar to those of some regions in Africa.


Research was done from individuals at the University of Copenhagen and Stanford University. These researchers were able to isolate the DNA of the three individuals who are known as the Zoutsteeg Three. They compared the DNA of the Zoutsteeg Three to the DNA of current West African populations. Researchers discovered that one of the three slaves probably came from a Bantu-speaking population from Cameroon. The DNA also showed that the other two may have come from regions of Nigeria and Ghana that do not speak Bantu.


The article also says that this research and these findings have “important implications for the study of Caribbean slavery and the archaeology of the African diaspora”. I think this is very important because it gives us a great insight to the past. The topic of slavery is still talked about today, so I feel that it is more important than the other topics.


I picked this topic because even though I am a finance major, I have always been passionate about learning about genetics. Genetic research can really change the way archaeologist are able to learn about the past. The research can also influence what we will be able to learn and do in the future.


Not to say the other topics aren’t important as well. Another one of the articles that really stood out to me was “Earliest Stone Tools” by Zach Zorich. The fact that the earliest tools that we have discovered predate the first known humans is just mind-boggling. Tools are so essential to survival, especially during pre-historic times. I would love to learn more about who or what was using those tools and created those tools. The reason I did not pick this article as my #1 was because nothing had really been resolved. Instead of answering any questions, this article just created more unanswered questions.


Overall, I thought all of the articles were a very good read. I learned a lot more than I had imagined that I would.

3 thoughts on “W5 Reflection Post

  1. Just like you, genetics has always been one of my passions. When I read this article I was also fascinated to see how they used DNA to trace the origin of the three slaves back to some countries in Africa. I totally agree with you that genetics research can change the way that archeologists understand the past. I also found the “Earliest Stone Tools” discovery very interesting. I am always amazed whenever I read about how new archaeological evidence may alter the timeline that we have for certain cultures or even the human’s timeline in general. Indeed, this discovery seems to create more questions for the public.

  2. As a human biology major I also looked at the science aspect of the articles and especially the contribution to DNA. The Tracing Slave Origins article was my top discovery as well as it was crazy how they used DNA people down to the same race to an era and country. The contribution to science was that they found a new way to do this and used a new procedure to get to where they were going. The earliest stone tool article does seem interesting! The fact that it is possible for there to be tools that came before the first know humans illustrates a possibility of even older humans that we havent found yet.

  3. While I did not find the article “Tracing Slave Origins” to be the most interesting out of the ten, I do appreciate the information that researchers were able to uncover during the testing of the Zoutsteeg Three. Based on DNA data, we now know that one of the slaves most-likely was a part of a community that spoke Bantu and the others were not. To be able to discover information such as this is extremely valuable in the quest to learn more about humans’ pasts. In this case, the history of Caribbean slavery is being analyzed. As you stated, this topic is still very relevant today.

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